In the backdrop of the US-Iran tensions, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday directed officials to keep a tab on possible hoarding and smuggling of essential commodities by unscrupulous elements.
Chairing a meeting here, Adityanath instructed officials to keep a track on the prices of essential food commodities, including food grain, oil and vegetables.
He said the ongoing standoff in the Gulf region could escalate and vested interests could attempt to indulge in the black marketing, hoarding and smuggling of consumer goods for profiteering by creating an artificial scarcity and jacking up their prices.
The CM asked the concerned departments to keep a vigil on the movement of prices and take strict action if needed. He was holding the 157th meeting of the Mandi Parishad (UP agricultural marketing board) executive here.
He further tasked officials with taking steps to boost farm exports from the state. Targetting to double farm exports from the current level of Rs 17,600 crore by 2024, the state government is also encouraging setting up of private agricultural ‘mandis’.
Meanwhile, the CM also directed the Parishad to increase the cow production cess from 2 per cent to 3 per cent, since the Board’s revenue has also increased. However, he underlined that the Parishad officials should ensure that the money for the upkeep of the cow shelter was paid only to bona fide entities. A portion of the cess is also to be transferred to the state animal husbandry department.
Under the existing policy for financing the construction and operation of cow shelters, the state government had earlier hiked the 1 per cent levy on the tax revenue of the Mandi Parishad to 2% for creating a bigger corpus for the cow shelter infrastructure. Levy on the tax revenue normally goes to the state panchayat bodies
At present, the bulk of the agro marketing is done through the government operated 251 ‘mandis’ across the 75 districts of UP. In 2018-19, these notified ‘mandis’ had clocked total transactions worth nearly Rs 67,000 crore.
UP ranks among the country’s top agricultural and horticultural producers with its annual food grain production alone standing in excess of 50 million tonnes (MT) and growing.
Eight state public sector undertakings, including Setu Nigam (Bridge Corporation) and UP State Industrial Development Corporation (UPSIDC) were asked to contribute 0.5% towards the cow shelter scheme with their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) kitty.
Meanwhile, the CM directed for the setting up of a laboratory each in Lucknow, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Bundelkhand and Western UP dedicated to organic products, apart from a similar facility attached with each of the agricultural science centres in the state.